Why You Need to Get Rid of Personal Items When Staging Your Home

Kelly Crawford


You’ve likely seen this subject arise around preparing to sell a home. You have to get rid of personal items before staging and getting professional photography done. But why? After all, you might have bought a house with personal items left out. You may have even seen others do the same. What’s the big deal anyway?

What depersonalizing does for your home

Depersonalizing your home does just what it sounds like. It depersonalizes it. You create a neutral space for potential buyers so they instantly picture themselves at home when they walk through the door. Think of a model home. Rarely will you see personal touches; if you do, they will be generic ones like a stock photo on the counter or a flag for a sports team.

The idea when a buyer walks through is for them to imagine themselves creating their own home in this house. We want them to be moving in their furniture and hanging pictures and window treatments. When your home has personal elements, buyers have a more difficult time not seeing it as your home. Getting rid of personal items does so much to get buyers fully engaged in the process.

Highlight features of your home

When you get rid of clutter and your personal decorations, you can highlight features of your home. Cool corners, hardwood floors or tile, and even baseboards are easier to spot when they are not covered by extra furniture and oversized rugs.

Showcase your windows

Taking down window treatments and instead having a simple set of vertical blinds will allow buyers to see how pretty your windows are. Of course, you want to leave your blinds open to present the views from your home. Big, clean, shining windows without obstructions will allow light to flood in and create a bright space to enjoy walking through.

Make your home seem larger

When you move out big extra furniture, you make your space seem more spacious than it is. You may even have a ton of square footage, but large, personal items tend to take up room. Often, these pieces of furniture are sentimental or accommodate a large family. It is best to store them for your next home and allow your potential buyers to really see how much space they will have.

Take away distractions

Another benefit of depersonalizing your home before staging is that your buyers won’t be distracted by your lovely family photos or collections of items you’ve gathered over the years. Free from distractions, they can hone in on what makes the actual house so fabulous.

Create a safe and neutral space free from controversy

Finally, when you remove your personal items, you create a safe space free from controversy. You don’t care what religion your potential buyers follow, and their political persuasions are irrelevant. The same is true on their end. Avoid making them walk into your home with religious ornaments or with signs and posters about which political party or candidate you support. Definitely don’t keep up anything negative about the other side. The last thing you want is for a potential buyer to walk into your home with negative feelings already in place because they disagree with your beliefs and practices.

What depersonalizing your home does for you

In addition to making the process easier for your buyers, potentially getting more offers on your home, depersonalizing benefits you, too.

Helps you process the emotional part of selling

Look, selling your home is likely going to be emotional, no matter what. When you start the depersonalization process early, you can begin working through those emotions as you pack away family pictures and personal collections items. As you roll up imported area rugs, wrap up small pieces of furniture and store those large, clunky items you’ve loved forever, you can work through your feelings of letting go of this part of your life.

Gets you started with moving

Another benefit of depersonalizing is that you get to start the moving process. It is often long and drawn out, especially if you have been in the home for many years, so the sooner you can get started, the better.

What to focus on when depersonalizing your home for staging

Here are a few tips for depersonalization that can help you get started.


This one feels obvious, we know, but it is still worth including. Some think keeping pictures up will breathe life into a space, but you actually want to do the opposite. You want to remove life from your space so new life can move in. Take down all personal pictures and wrap them up for your new home.

Degrees, awards, and certificates

Some people forget this step when depersonalizing, but it is an important one. Any type of award or certificate, which usually includes your name, should be taken down and packed in storage. You can replace them with neutral art or nothing at all.

Collections and memorabilia

Whether you’ve got a great set of old records, a collection of snow globes from around the world, or a case of amazing Star Wars action figures that have never been touched, it all has to go. It is super cool to you, and it may be super cool to some of your buyers. But they’re not there to see your stuff. They’re there to buy your house. Pack it away.

Personalized decorations

Yes, even personalized decorations that have your name on them or the first letter of your family name must come down. Special art created by an artist just for you also must come down. Anything that adds a personal touch should be removed.

Kelly Crawford's Team is here to help

In the end, if you’re struggling with the depersonalization process, call Kelly Crawford Team. We are experts in home staging for Orinda real estate and the surrounding areas, and we are happy to make this process smoother and easier for you. Our top-quality real estate services include helping you move out of your home in a way that feels good to you. With a reputation for excellence and exceeding expectations, Kelly Crawford Team is here to serve our clients. Contact us today.


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